Not all summer containers need hours of maintenance to keep them looking good.
Choose your plants carefully – such as those that are drought-tolerant – and you can create a striking display that requires the minimum of upkeep.
Some of our suggestions will also look good year after year, so you only need to plant them once.
Here are six ideas for low-maintenance summer containers.
Aeonium and festuca
This drought-tolerant duo needs near-zero maintenance – simply plant them and water occasionally. The wooden planter is painted black to complement the central plant, while the billowing grasses add a wild edge.
Osteospermum, hebe and fern
While the osteospermum flowers in this pot are pretty, the foliage of the other plants is striking enough to hold things together when they’re past their best. The foliage will last all year, too, meaning this container has staying power.
Plants used: Osteospermum ‘Serenity Dark Purple’, Dryopteris affinis and Hebe ‘Heartbreaker’.
Eryngium, achillea and sedum
This robust trio is reminiscent of the plants found on sand dunes, and they’re just as tolerant of harsh conditions in a garden. Also, they’ll come back year after year, with the flower heads holding their form right into autumn.
Phormium, begonia and echinacea
Architectural foliage and striking blooms result in a container that really packs a punch. The flowers will last for several weeks, with the other plants growing strong and becoming more dramatic as the season progresses.
Plants used: Phormium tenax ‘Veneer’, Echinacea ‘Sombrero Salsa Red’ and Begonia ‘Gryphon’.
Pelargonium, ipomoea, diascia and senecio
This classic terracotta pot is filled with cheery sun-lovers that need little care. The flowers are the heart of this display, while the variegated foliage and ornamental grass add texture. Snip off the faded geranium blooms and water sparingly. Find out how to create this pot.
Pelargoniums and aeonium
Attractive flowers and striking foliage combine in a container that needs a bit of deadheading and the occasional splash of water to keep things looking good. A grit mulch smartens things up and helps to keep weeds at bay.
Plants used: Aeonium arboreum ‘Atropupureum’, Pelargonium ‘Bullseye Scarlet’, Pelargonium ‘The Boar’.
A metal shallow bowl is filled with succulents to create a display that needs no care through the summer – just position it in a sunny spot and watch the plants grow. Move the pot to a frost-free place for the winter and enjoy it again next year.
Read how our five tips for feeding plants in pots.
Choose your pots carefully
Take care when choosing your pots and containers. Plastic containers, particularly black pots, can heat up quickly in summer, which can stress the roots of some plants and limit their growth. Try a terracotta, ceramic or concrete container instead.